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MIAMI, FL – The developers behind the construction of Miami’s Surfside Champlain Towers South, which tragically collapsed Thursday – killing at least nine people and leaving more than 150 unaccounted for – once reportedly faced accusations of paying bribes to local officials in order to secure the permits needed for the project. In addition, other reports indicate that the building had been previously inspected in 2018, at which time it engineers noted that the structure had design flaws and failed waterproofing that had resulted in “major structural damage” that was never addressed.
In addition, the building required a $15 million renovation process in order to bring it up to code for a required 40-year certification, the process of which was reportedly about to be carried out when the building suddenly collapsed last week.
Surfside’s developers had previously contributed to the campaigns of at least two town council members before starting construction in 1981, reports say, but after rival companies alleged that they were receiving preferential treatment as a result, the developer demanded the contributions back.
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The main principals involved in the development of Surfside are now all deceased, according to reports.
In addition, engineers reported in an October 2018 inspection that the building had design flaws and failing waterproofing that had caused “major structural damage” on a concrete slab over a garage, that that failure to repair the damage would cause it to “expand exponentially.” The report also discovered “abundant” cracking and deterioration of concrete in the columns, beams and walls in the garage directly underneath the south tower that had collapsed on Thursday.
Despite these issues being reported in 2018, there have been no plans to address them until April, reports say, and would have been part of the upcoming $15 million renovation process. While experts say it is too early to tell if these issues directly contributed to the collapse of the building, they stressed that they should be investigated thoroughly.